Comparing the Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald to The Graduate

Essay by genissisHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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Two recent East Coast college graduates find themselves alienated and adrift in the shifting society of their time. Both question the values of the two very different societies, one the roaring 1920s and one the free-love decade of the 1960s. Nick, in The Great Gatsby, feels like he is being sucked into the socialite world of East Egg and finds this world to be devoid of all meaning. Ben Braddock in The Graduate feels like he was born into the shallow world of his parents and his parent's friends.

In one of the earliest scenes in the movie, Ben says that he wants his future to be different, different than his parents. Each tries to establish themselves in that world despite all those things; Nick goes East to work in "bonds," and Ben receives the vague advice of "plastics." In the first party scene in The Graduate, Ben's achievements are being floated around the room as if they were the greatest accomplishments ever, "Captain of the Cross-country Team, Head of the Debating Club, Associate Editor of the college newspaper in his Junior year, Managing Editor in his Senior" are heard as he slams the door to his room.

These truths are comparable to the rumors and lies spread around about Gatsby. He is also often hidden in the rooms of his house as people at his parties whisper things about him like "He once killed a man; he was a spy for the Germans." Each person is seriously misunderstood by the people that surround him. When Gatsby throws parties, he doesn't know many of the people attending and some show up solely to be in with the fashionable crowd. When Ben's parents throw parties to celebrate his accomplishments they invite only their friends and these parties become meaningless to...